Slaves To Convenience – You Might Be Spoiled

 

Twelve years ago, the initial seed crystal of “Slaves to Convenience” formed in my mind on the highways of western Texas.  It began an entire personal examination of  how our culture has shifted from a mindset of proper humility and self-sufficiency to an era of Me First And Screw Everyone Else.  After all, it’s more convenient to pursue your own interests than to put other people before yourself.

Everyone knows what spoiled children look like.  America’s filled with them.  Look at the number of soccer moms who tote their designer children to their designer sports events in their designer cars, wearing their designer clothes and applauding as designer “participation trophies” are handed out to all of the designer children so that their designer feelings don’t get hurt from keeping a designer score.  (“You’re all winners in our book, kids!”)

We’ve all stood in the checkout line as little Fauntleroy screams about not getting a bag of M&M’s or the latest designer brand of sugar sweetened cereal.  Designer Mom either pretends like the tantrum isn’t happening, or tries to reason with the child about the merits of not acting out in public.  (When I was a child, throwing a tantrum got you a good smack on the backside and a serious tongue-lashing, to say nothing of what would happen when you got home and Dad found out.)

And who hasn’t witnessed the spectacle of the schoolyard bully?  Nothing says “pay attention to me” like shoving another kid’s face in the dirt or forcing them to hand over their lunch.  I was frequently targeted by bullies when I was younger, and I’m sure many of you were, too.

The problem is, spoiled children have a nasty habit of becoming spoiled adults.

How can you tell if you’re a spoiled adult?  See if any of the items below describe you.  Don’t be afraid to raise your hand, no one’s looking.

*  Do you feel a compulsive need to own the latest generation of whatever high-tech gadget you own?

*  Do you get irritated if you have to wait more than five minutes in line for any reason?

*  Do you have car payments?

*  Do you have credit card debt?

*  Do you own more than one product made by Apple?  (*Gasp*  Did he just make a dig at Mac users?  Why yes, he did.)

* Do you bristle at the thought of buying clothes at a second-hand store?

*  Do you feel “disrespected” if anyone tells you that you’re wrong?

*  Have you ever quit speaking to someone because they said something that you didn’t like?

 

But wait, fellow Christians. It doesn’t stop there.  How about any of these:

 

*  Have you ever left a church because you “weren’t being fed”?

*  Do you complain about the worship music style, but never get involved in the worship team?

*  Have you ever left a church service feeling irritated at something that the pastor said?

*  Are there families in the church that you avoid because of personal conflicts?

*  Have you attended more than two different churches in the last three years?

*  Do you look at other types and sizes of church with a certain level of distrust or disdain?

(Note: Kevin DeYoung has a great related piece about the distinguishing marks of a quarrelsome person.  It’s worth a read.)

 

If any of these things describe you, then face it – you may be a little spoiled.  Don’t beat yourself up too badly about it; we’re all guilty to one extent or another.

What does scripture have to say about it?

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you:  Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (Romans 12: 1-3, NIV, emphasis added)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  Jesus Christ didn’t die on a cross so that we could have better things, a nicer house, higher social stature, or a better church service experience.  He died to restore our relationships to our creator and to restore our relationships to each other.  When we focus our energies on our own selfish desires, we take our eyes off what God desires that we value – other people.

In other words, I’m not as important as I think I am, and you’re not as important as you think you are.

The funny thing about Christianity is that what Christ values is diametrically opposed to what the world values.  The world says “Get rich or die trying”, and Jesus says that it’s “easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” . (Matthew 19:24)  The world says “Discover yourself”, and Jesus says “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39)  The world says “Buy whatever you want”, and Jesus says “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

The son of God came to earth and washed other people’s feet.  What does that say about yours and my selfishness?